Russia covers its nuclear bombers with TYRES in bid to protect them from Ukrainian drones
- Satellite images show the Tu-95 nuclear bombers with car tyres on the wings
Russia has started covering its Tu-95 nuclear bombers with car tyres in a bizarre bid to protect them from Ukrainian drones.
Satellite images show the Bear strike aircraft at Engels-2 Air Base in Saratov region with tyres spread out over the wings.
The base was hit by Ukrainian drones in two strikes in December, after which Vladimir Putin was forced to move some Tu-95 strategic bombers to other air bases.
The planes are a key part of his nuclear strike force, but have been used to inflict carnage on Ukraine with conventional weapons during the current war.
‘While the reason for covering the wings and part of the upper fuselage in this way is not completely clear, the most likely theory is that the car tyres are used to protect the valuable bombers from attacks carried out with kamikaze drones,’ said a report in The Aviationist website.
Russia has started covering its Tu-95 nuclear bombers with car tyres in an apparent attempt to protect them from Ukrainian drones
Tu-95 nuclear bombers such as this one are a key part of Vladimir Putin’s nuclear strike force, but have been used to inflict carnage on Ukraine with conventional weapons
The base was hit by Ukrainian drones in two strikes in December, after which Vladimir Putin was forced to move some Tu-95 strategic bombers to other air bases
The aim may be to absorb the impact of drones or to protect fuel tanks on the hulking planes.
The move comes after two recent alleged Ukrainian strikes on Russian war planes.
In one, in Pskov, four Il-76 transporters were put out of action, with two aircraft beyond repair after being engulfed in flames.
Separately, Kyiv claimed to have damaged four Su-30 fighter jets, one MiG-29 fighter jet, two Pantsir-S1 close-range air defence systems and a radar linked to a long-range S-300 surface-to-air missile system in a strike in Kursk with aerial drones made of cardboard.
But experts question the effectiveness of the tyre strategy.
The tyres do not fully cover the wings and body so Ukrainian drones could still inflict damage.
‘The drone could be guided to detonate below the surface of the wing and still cause the total loss of the aircraft,’ said the report.
‘Last but not least, tires are flammable although they need a high temperature to burn.
‘However, when you store plenty of tyres in the same place and conditions for combustion are present, they can become a hazard.
Satellite images revealed Russian bombers at the airport were being armed with cruise missiles for a likely attack on Ukraine’s energy network in November
Engels-2 is home of the 121st & 184th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiments, respectively operating the Russian Aerospace Forces Tu-160M Blackjack and Tu-95M Bear strategic bombers (file image)
‘When tyres catch fire they burn with intense heat and produce noxious smoke.’
Engels-2 is home of the 121st & 184th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiments, respectively operating the Russian Aerospace Forces Tu-160M Blackjack and Tu-95M Bear strategic bombers.
The base has been used for many of Moscow’s air strikes with deadly Kh-101 cruise missiles.
It is some 435 miles from the Ukrainian border.
Up to eight Tu-95s and four Tu-160Ms have been spotted at Engels-2.
On December 5 Ukraine hit the base, damaging two Tu-95s, while on 26 December there was a repeat attack causing the deaths of three Russian officers.
The Tu-95s are the world’s only propeller-powered nuclear bombers.
They first flew some 70 years ago, but remain an integral part of the Russian nuclear armoury.
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